Of all the questions I get asked, this one's the most common: why did you let your hair go grey?
Let me start with a HUGE disclaimer: please understand, this is about me and my life and my choices. It's not a value judgement or a sneaky way of implying that you should do this, too!
Here's why I stopped colouring my hair and embraced my ageing.
Except for my friend, Pam, and my sister-in-law Christine, I'm the only woman I know who has gone grey by 50. Keep in mind that I know hundreds of women my age in Australia, America and Canada -- relatives, acquaintances and friends. I'm grey. They're not. I'm pretty much the only one!
When I decided to grow out my blonde hair, quite a few friends (lovingly, thoughtfully...) warned me, "Don't do it! It will age you!" And honestly, I think they're right. I think I do look older than my friends who colour their hair. But I also look good.
Older. But good.
Here's me before. (It's a weird photo because I'm hiding my braces! Yes, I got adult braces AND let my hair go grey all at the same time. Brave, right?)
And here's me After. (I'm three years older in this After photo...). It was taken about a month ago.
So why did I do it?
I wanted to see what my (honest) 49 looked like. I also wanted to be free from dumping chemicals on my head every four weeks, free of the cost of hair colour, and free to reclaim the hours I spent covering up my grey roots. You know what I'm talking about. (Because, yes, the grey roots always show.)
I wanted to get my ageing over with.
I say this with relief: I'm done. I've aged. I'm grey. Now I get to head gracefully into the rest of my life.
So what's it like being grey? For me, it's this. (And please remember, I'm not judging anyone's hair choice!)
1. Surprisingly, I get more positive comments about my appearance than I've had since I was thirty. (I'm shy about this but it's true: strangers often stop me now and tell me I look beautiful. What a gift in the middle of my life! It makes me feel so good.)
2. A lot of compliments come from men and I never expected that. Being grey brings this strange freedom; now men of all ages 'read' me right. From young guys to those who are 50 and 70 and beyond, men treat me with respect. Young men know who I am: a 'classic age' woman secure in her own skin. I am 50+. I look 50+. I'm not trying to appear 35; I have the grey hair to prove it.
3. Women ALL tell me the same thing. I've heard this literally hundreds of times: "But your hair is a beautiful colour. Mine would be awful." This one makes me smile...because every woman says this to me (and I'm pretty sure that, statistically, all these women would not have an 'awful' colour of grey hair! Who knows? Maybe yours is beautiful).
4. People think I colour my hair! There's irony for you: people ask me if I dye my hair silver. The answer is nope. This is me, naturally. (My Mum has beautiful pure white hair, so who knows? That might be me one day.)
5. Young women love that I've gone grey. They tell me I'm a role model, ageing authentically, and they hope they will do the same.
Here's me, three months in...growing out my grey!
Do I judge everyone who keeps colouring? No.
Do I think I'm smarter or more enlightened? No.
Does it make me look a little older? Probably yes.
Every person chooses his or her own path. For me, going grey was the best possible decision. I think I look better (and maybe a little older!) I've saved tons of money and time.
If you're sitting on the fence about whether to go grey, i have lots of advice about how i did it (the short answer is that I did it slowly, without help from my hair stylist. I just grew out my roots over 18 months and enjoyed the authentic reveal of the Real Me. I wanted time to get used to myself.)
Whatever you decide to do, know this: you might be pleasantly surprised by who you are underneath your hair colour. Maybe. But that choice is 100% up to you.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Be fun to live with...grey, not grey, or somewhere in between!
- Hello, new readers! So happy you're here. (Please share my Happiness Blog with anyone who might enjoy it! Thank you!)
- My instagram photos are pretty! Check out the Canadian barn dance wedding. My new niece, Kaitlyn, was so beautiful!
- I'm deep into writing my next novel. If you're ready to write your book this year, I have a few spots left in my online course, How To Write Your Book This Year, kicking off 1 August. More info here!